“Queer” As A Tool Of Colonial Oppression: The Case Of Israel/palestine


As the second Palestinian Intifada erupted in the autumn of 2000, a curious and persistent argument began being employed by supporters of the Israeli state. At many talks with guest speakers sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, Zionist supporters of Israel, many of them rather macho young men who never identified themselves as gay and who almost certainly never lived in an Arab or Muslim country, would stand up and decry the lack of gay rights in the Palestinian Territories compared to their view of the enlightened policies of Israel.

Given the frequency of the attacks, it was obvious that they were part of a concerted campaign to demonize Palestinians. Indeed, citing a sensationalized report printed in the pro-Israeli New Republic magazine which suggested that the Palestinian Authority was conducting a vicious campaign against homosexuals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip [1], one pro-Israeli writer stated that as a result hundreds of Palestinians had been forced to flee to Israel, concluding that “if any gay solidarity exists it must be to defend the nations that permit us to live and denounce the regimes that do not,” as he then went on ironically to defend the policies of homophobe George W. Bush’s vision as “the only hope for freedom in the Middle East [2].”

This year, as World Pride Day (held in Jerusalem in August 2006) edged closer, mainstream North American Zionist Jewish organizations such as United Jewish Communities organized the National LGBT Pride in Israel Mission. Such organizations promised organized all expenses paid “gay tours” for the members of the “gay elite” so that they could witness first-hand Israel’s enlightened gay society by touring sites “specifically significant to gays and lesbians [3].”

The presence of such a concerted campaign by many people not normally motivated to speak out on behalf of gay rights is clearly designed to portray Israel as humane and tolerant, while demonstrating that their Arab, specifically their Palestinian, neighbors are not. Like Western arguments used to justify the West’s “war on terror”, this argument is an obvious attempt to legitimize Israeli racism and war crimes, and to present Israel as a beacon of human rights and democracy when in fact, as this paper will demonstrate, Israel in practice displays as little concern for the rights of gay Palestinians as it does for heterosexual Palestinians. Aside from the ludicrous proposition that Israel has somehow rid itself of homophobia, it is even more absurd to suggest that somehow Palestinian gays and lesbians should willingly bow down and thank the Israeli government for having passing gay rights laws in Israel as they witness the carnage of this summer’s grotesquely-named “Summer Rain” campaign in Gaza and applaud as they view relatives and friends killed as “collateral damage” by Israeli Apache helicopters. It is as if Palestinian gays and lesbians should whisper quiet notes of thanks to the benevolent Israeli government as they wait together for hours with their heterosexual brothers and sisters at racist check-points.

Such statements, naturally, are designed to appeal to the worst Orientalist stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims as a people hopelessly mired in a barbaric past dooming them to intolerance and backwardness. In justifying war crimes by the fact that Israel has granted queers civil rights, Israeli supporters have wrapped the word “queer” in a bright and shiny package shorn of all reference to past queer struggles. Seemingly, it is a package Israel can now export—perhaps along with the arms shipments that make the country the world’s third largest arms exporter [4]—to justify Israeli colonialism. As we shall see, the package has serious defects. As the American anti-occupation queer group QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism) notes: “The government of Israel is not building a wall around an entire country because it is attempting to create a queer safe space [5].” Moreover, let us remember that white gays and lesbians of apartheid South Africa, to which Israel is often compared and to which Israel supplied economic and military support including nuclear weapons secrets, also enjoyed a western gay lifestyle—even though their rights were never enshrined in law—which was also used to demonstrate white apartheid South Africa’s European superiority.

The first defect in the argument is that it neglects Israel’s own homophobic past. This is important because we should remember that Israel’s Jewish holocaust survivors shared a common experience with gays under Hitler’s rule. Like Jews, “Aryan” gays were also targeted for deportation and murder; however, we should remember that the oppression of German gay men began earlier than that of any other group. Gay men, who wore a pink triangle, were treated worse than any other group, subjected to castration, torture, and beatings, were subjected to the lowest position in the camp hierarchy, and subjected to abuse by both guards and fellow prisoners. When the camps were liberated, American soldiers often berated gay prisoners for their perversion. Other gay prisoners were liberated only to be thrown back into jail as they were considered dangerous sex offenders, while others were left to perish [6].

As fellow victims of the Nazi Holocaust, gays might have thought that the establishment of the nascent Jewish state would have been sympathetic to gays within the new state. Instead, the newly-created entity enacted its own anti-sodomy law, and because of the influence of religious Judaism, lesbian and gay Jews were denied the right of Jewish return. Moreover, the decades following the establishment of the Jewish state emphasized family and reproduction to increase the Jewish population and were hardly a paradise for gays and lesbians. This is true especially if one can judge by a paper written on homosexuality on Israeli kibbutzes in which all of the gays interviewed recalled that homosexuality was a topic that was almost never discussed [7]. Instead, gays and lesbians were rendered invisible and subject to societal disapproval.
Israel’s anti-sodomy law was only removed in 1988, far after many other western nations had removed theirs [8]. Even then, to pass the law, liberal Knesset members called the vote in the middle of the night when they knew that religious Knesset members would not be present [9]. Many years after the law was passed, Israeli politicians routinely uttered homophobic remarks, most prominently Israeli president Ezer Weizman who denounced homosexuals in 1996 while addressing high-school students stating: “Homosexuality is abnormal from a social point of view…I personally do not accept this business of everyone coming out of the closet. It seems to me to be weird [10].” In 1999, then Health Minister Schlomo Benirzi, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, proclaimed Dana International, the transsexual singer who won the Eurovison song festival, “an abomination” [11].” Most recently, this year an Israeli rabbi, David Basri, has blamed avian flu on election campaigns promoting gay marriage [12], while leaflets advocating “death to Sodomites” have been distributed in Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. Clearly, despite the passage of gay rights laws, there are still many people in Israel who don’t like lgbt people.

Given that homosexuality was hardly universally accepted in Israel, and indeed was more likely to be the object of disdain, many academics have posited that instead of demonstrating remarkable tolerance, the granting of gay rights can be explained as Hagai El-Ad, the Executive Director of Jerusalem’s lgbt community center The Open House notes, “the closing of the ranks among the Jewish majority in the face of a common Arab enemy [13].” Jewish gay activists gained acceptance by convincing the wider public that they were patriotic citizens. As Ruti Kadih notes, lesbians presented themselves as mothers who have performed their Zionist task, while gay males presented themselves as soldiers who wanted to serve their country like everyone else [14]. Thus, as Joshua Gamson explains: “Gays and lesbians have fast become not-Other by emphasizing not just their similarity to straights but their difference from the ultimate Other [i.e. the Arabs] in Israel [15].”

Indeed, the need for Jewish bodies to defend the Jewish state (for only Druze and Bedouin Arabs are allowed to join the Israeli Offense Forces) cannot be over-emphasized as two studies by Israeli researchers suggest. One states, for example, that “there is no evidence that the long-standing inclusion of homosexuals in the IDF has harmed operational effectiveness, combat readiness, unit cohesion or morale in the Israeli military [16]” while another found “no common adjustment problems relating to these [gay] men’s sexual orientation [17]”. But, as one paper notes, while the law has been changed to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the Army, the vast majority still choose to hide their sexual orientation from their fellow combatants, and instead adapt to the masculine and heterosexual norms of the Army [18].

Meanwhile, other gay activists, especially from the Israeli group Black Laundry, an lgbt group fighting for equality for Israel’s Palestinian citizens and against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza refuses to legitimize Israeli racism and announces that “the oppression of all minorities within Israel is fed by the same racism, chauvinism, and militarism that causes the dispossession of the Palestinian people to continue [19]”. Furthermore, as Hagai El-Ad argues, while Israel has passed gay rights laws there is still no government commitment to financing a gay youth shelter in Tel Aviv or opening up high schools across the country to the lecture services of Israel’s gay organizations. As El-Ad continues: “Will gays and lesbians choose now to close ranks with the oppressive majority, or will we understand that a future of freedom is possible for us only if it’s possible for everyone? [20]”

The argument concerning the granting of gay rights in the face of a common Arab enemy is further buttressed by the May 2006 ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court that upheld a controversial law amendment to the Citizenship Law that prevents “family unification” of Palestinians married to Arab citizens of Israel or Arab Jerusamlemites [21]. Thus, while gay rights are granted largely for the benefit of Israel’s Jewish citizens, under the tenure of Ariel Sharon as prime minister, new forms of discriminatory legislation were passed for the country’s Arab citizens. As usual, the Israeli government claims the law is necessary for “security” reasons, but according to HAKOMED Center for the Defense of the Individual, the real reason is a demographic one, and the organization quotes former Interior Minister, Eli Yishai who stated that non-Jews “threaten the Jewish character of the State of Israel [22].” Furthermore, senior officials in the Population Administration contended at the time that family unification effectively constituted the “realization of the right of return in a roundabout way [23].”

Meanwhile, gays who have fled the Palestinian territories will never be granted the rights of refugees because granting such rights to Palestinian gays is also seen as attempting to gain a “creeping right of return.” Indeed, while gay men have fled the West Bank and Gaza—and meanwhile, far more gays probably go to Amman, Jordan than to Israel—what is less documented is Israel’s own role in creating homophobia in Palestinian society through the blackmailing of gay Palestinians. As with Palestinian children, recruiting Palestinian gays as collaborators is part and parcel of Israel’s policy to maintain control over Palestinian territory. The Israeli secret police often exploit gay Palestinians by coercing them into working undercover to gather information about other Palestinians [24]. Those accused of being collaborators are at risk of stigmatization, exclusion, and occasionally retaliation. Gays identified as collaborators stigmatize gay men in general, and collaborators of all stripes are shown little mercy, especially when they are connected to serious incidents leading to the death of other Palestinians. Thus, if gays meet a violent end it is not clear whether they are killed because they are gay or because they are seen as informers.

Unfortunately, while Israeli defenders laud their country’s liberal gay rights policies, Israel has done nothing to protect gay runaways. Most runaways came during the period of the Oslo accords, but none have been granted official residence status or asylum. In fact, Israeli police have expelled several dozen gay runaways at West Bank and Gaza checkpoints, and have arrested Palestinian gay runaways and sent them back to the West Bank. Persecution for sexual orientation warrants asylum under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees covenant to which Israel is a signatory, but it has never accepted a gay Palestinian’s refugee appeal. Indeed, Israel has never granted refugee asylum to any Palestinian, gay or straight, not even to those who make a credible claim that they will be killed if they are sent back to the West Bank or Gaza. As Kathleen Peratis of Human Rights Watch notes, the only exception for this is for people who “identify with the State of Israel and its goals” and who “performed a material act to advance the security of the state”—in other words, collaborators [25].

The Nationality and Entry into Israel law, the same law which denies the rights of Israeli Arab citizens to marry Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, according to Human Rights Watch, has in fact led to a crackdown on gay Palestinians in Israel. Now, no official status is possible, so most gays who do find their way to Israel soon find themselves objects of police protection and are arrested and summarily expelled. Obviously, in contrast to the claims of pro-Israeli defenders, Palestinian gays are no more welcome or protected in Israel than heterosexual Palestinians. Both are seen as demographic threats to the Jewish population, and all of Israel’s high-sounding words about protecting gays are revealed as empty rhetoric.

Furthermore, as Israeli defenders decry their Arab neighbors supposed contempt for gays and women, they never acknowledge the role Israel has played in encouraging both Islamic and Christian religious fundamentalists hostile to gay rights. Just as the United States promoted and funded religious fundamentalist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaida, and the Ayotollah Khomeni in Iran while over the years actively helping to overthrow or de-stabilize secular governments in Iran, Iraq, and Egypt, Israel too has played the role of the sorcerer’s apprentice in encouraging Islamic fundamentalism, trying to defeat, as former intelligence director for the Defense Intelligence Agency, states, “Arab nationalism using Muslim zealots [26]”. As Charles Freeman, a veteran U.S. diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, states: “Israel started Hamas. It was a project of Shin Bet [the Israeli domestic intelligence agency], which had a feeling that they could use it to hem in the PLO [27] (Dreyfuss, p. 191].” Though it would later assassinate Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in 2004, after 1967 Israel saw Yassin and the Muslim Brotherhood as valuable allies against the PLO and watched benignly as it created charity organizations and religious endowments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 1973, while Shin Bet looked on, Yassin founded the Islamic Center which became the Islamic Association. Manachem Begin formally licensed the Association and the Israeli governor of the Gaza Strip, Yitzhak Segev has admitted to financing the Islamic movement as a counterweight to the PLO and the Communists [28] (Dreyfuss, p. 197).” Besides promoting Hamas, Israel has also actively supported the Muslim Brotherhood in its campaign against the Bath Party in Syria and shipped arms and provided intelligence information to Iran’s fundamentalist mullahs during the Iran-Iraq war.

Nor has the Israeli government shied away from forming ties with virulently homophobic pro-Israeli Christian Zionist fundamentalists, whose hate speech against gays (stripped of its Biblical references) would have found favor with the Nazis. These fundamentalists include such men as Pat Robertson, whom the Zionist Organization of America has honored with its State of Israel Friendship Award, and Jerry Falwell to whom former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin presented the Jabotinsky Centennial medal for his work on behalf of Israel [29]. The Christian Zionist fundamentalists’ support stems from their belief in the “end days” which will only happen when the Jews return to Israel and build the Third Temple over the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. When this happens, the final battle, Armageddon, will be fought and all righteous believers will be “raptured” into heaven. Those who don’t convert will perish.

Although this scenario theoretically will result in the eradication of the Jewish people, the Israeli government continues to court the evangelists for their economic and political support for Israel, and as the United States, influenced by the Christian fundamentalists’ political clout, joins Iran in 2006 in voting against granting two European gay rights groups UN observer status, Israel, supposedly a great friend of gays, remains silent. Meanwhile, the United States’ and Israel’s support for fundamentalist Islamic groups to the detriment of secular governments has important ramifications for the lives of lgbt people in the region. As Ali Hili, a gay Muslim Iraqi living in exile in Britain has stated, during Saddam Hussein’s regime Iraqi gays enjoyed some acceptance, especially in theatre, in entertainment and media. Since the American invasion of Iraq, however, and the subsequent rise to power of Shia fundamentalists such as the Ayatollah al-Sistani (who has issued a death fatwa against gays), death squads have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution. When gay activists go to U.S. authorities in the Green Zone for help, the American officials, who we must remember take their orders from an openly homophobic administration, treat the gays who ask for protection with contempt and derision [30].
Indeed, when the pro-Israeli supporters deride homophobia in the Moslem world, they reveal—often comically—their own racism and obvious ignorance. Certainly, for example, the American actions at Abu Ghraib prison in which American soldiers fixated on simulating homosexual relations among Iraqi male prisoners reveal more about Americans’ repressed homosexual desires than they will ever reveal about Arabs or Moslems. Furthermore, a cursory look at the history of same-sex relations in the Muslim world would reveal that until recently, at least, Muslim cultures have demonstrated a far greater tolerance for same-sex relations than their Judeo-Christian counterparts [31]. In contrast to their Christian counterparts there is no similar history of medieval witch-hunts and the burning of homosexuals at the stake. In contrast, as Assad Abu Khalil notes, “the regularity and apparent legitimacy of homosexual relations were seen by Medieval Christians as evidence of the moral decadence of Moslems [32].” The region of the world with the most visible and diverse homosexualities was not Europe, but North Africa and southwestern Asia [33]. Islamic poetry has many examples in Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Urdu in which the poet expresses an idealized love of boys while elsewhere in Islamic history one finds the sexual use of young male entertainers, dancers, and military cadets. In societies where male sexual pleasure is seen as positive and where male sexual urges require the release of accumulated semen and where sexes are segregated, and where women are expected to be virgins until they are married, same-sex relations are unsurprisingly common. Although homosexuality often was seen as an act, rather than an identity, with the male who assumed the passive female role seen as inferior, as Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe conclude: “Many of the factors credited with fostering the emergence of modern Western homosexual patterns such as western labeling practices, the popular belief that homosexuality is a character trait, the association of non-masculinity of homosexual desire, and the possibility of urban networks or subcultures were present in historical Islamic societies [34]. The historical pattern continues to the present day, and same-sex relations are likely to be met with a “will not to know” [35] and as long as the relations do not interfere with societal and familial responsibilities, the relations are likely to be overlooked. Naturally, there are problems with this social model, but in contrast to Western societies, much affection is allowed between men in most Moslem cultures. And while the western press (like the New Republic’s sensational focus on the treatment of Palestinian gays) typically focuses on news items such as beheadings in Saudi Arabia, as gay journalist Mubarak Dahir notes, “from what I was able to discover while in Saudi Arabia, it seems unlikely that simply being discovered to be gay is sufficient to get you beheaded.” He observed that most of the gay men he met were worried about other matters such as how to meet others for sex and companionship rather than being beheaded [36].

In choosing to go ahead with World Pride in Jerusalem, InterPride, the organization which sponsored World Pride, appeared to have closed ranks with the oppressor rather than insisting on freedom and human rights for everyone. While World Pride used the all-embracing theme “Love Without Borders” to express a liberal and tolerant image, in fact, as the group Queers for Palestine noted, the title was truly ironic given the fact that it was chosen as the Israeli government was building its apartheid wall cutting off approximately 200,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem from the West Bank [37]. Indeed, while World Pride celebrated a supposed “Love Without Borders,” most Palestinian gays couldn’t attend due to the system of checkpoints and closure. Other Middle Eastern lgbt people such as those in the Lebanese group Helem (Dream) weren’t able to attend not only because they were automatically excluded from attending Israel, but also because their country was being torn apart and destroyed by a horrific Israeli military invasion. In keeping with its western-oriented mandate to spread the international—or should we say western—“gay uniform,” InterPride, distributed thousands of DVDs in San Francisco and New York promoting the “great parties” and “beautiful women” in Israel, and focused on the Israeli government allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the Israeli military (never discussing the role this force plays in denying the rights of Palestinians). It did, however, condemn the Palestinian Authority for its treatment of lesbian and gay people [38].

As the Latin American queer group Grupo de Trabajo por los Derechos Sexuales en America Latina observed before the event: “The state of Israel is going to make use of the Pride celebration—like the Argentinean junta did during the World Soccer Cup in 1978—to collect revenues and show the world how Israel is a free and tolerant country, in opposition to its “barbaric” neighbors who could benefit from invasion if that is the price to bring the ‘joys of civilization’ [39].”

Indeed, if groups such as InterPride wished to promote queer rights in the Middle East, surely they could have thought of a better strategy than bringing groups of consumerist lgbt westerners to Israel, while Palestinians, both gay and straight, suffered the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the “diet” laughingly imposed upon them by an Israeli government punishing them for practicing the democratic rights Israel rhetorically talks about but doesn’t practice.

If greater tolerance for lgbt people develops, it won’t be a result of the empty pronouncements of Irshad Manji, a lesbian pro-Israeli supporter who celebrates Israel’s “diversity” (wouldn’t true diversity mean a one-state solution?) while whitewashing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as she supports colonial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while spreading her message of support for the powerful on the hate-mongering FOX TV [40].

Increased lgbt acceptance in the Middle East will more likely result instead from gay groups in the Middle East working in their traditional cultures, while true solidarity from abroad will be demonstrated by lgbt groups of integrity and honesty such as QUIT, Queers for Palestine, the Grupo de Trabajo por los Derechos Sexuales en America Latina, and the South African group Engender which oppose militarism and colonialism and which realize that in their own countries gays are still murdered purely because of their sexuality, gay teenagers are still expelled from their homes, and as in my home country Canada, citizens are still capable of electing a vehemently homophobic government—a government which must be stressed  firmly supports Israeli war crimes—determined to take away queer rights.

If we are truly concerned about lgbt rights, we should recognize that civil rights for lgbt people in one place do not excuse oppression or war crimes in another. In short, it demands that we join with the many brave Jews who oppose and refuse the Israeli government narrative, the refuseniks who refuse to be co-opted by Israeli war machine, and stand up and shout: “Not in our name!”

Endnotes

1. Halevi, Yossi Klein. “Gay Palestinians’ plight” in The New Republic, issues 4, 570 and 4, 571, August 19 and 26, 2002, p. 12.
2. Bernstein, David J. “Gay Palestinians suffer under Arafat” in Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life: cms.hillel.org, November 27, 2002.
3. â€œIsrael news.” Baltimore Jewish Times.com. www.jewishtimes.com, August 25, 2005.
4. â€œArms unto the nations” in www.arcuk.org/pages/arms_unto_the_nations.htm
5. Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism. “Apartheid Pride? No Thanks!” BAR Newspaper, May 12, 2005.
6. Plant, Richard. The Pink Triangle: the Nazi War Against Homosexuals. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1986: p. 181.
7. Ben-Ari, Adital Tirosh. “Experiences of ‘not belonging’ in collectivistic communities: narratives of gays in kibbutzes,” in Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 42, issue 2, 2001: p. 101-125.
8. Walzer, Lee. “Queer in the land of Sodom,” in TheGully.com, February 21, 2002. www.thegully.com
9. Ibid.
10. International Lesbian and Gay Association. World Legal Survey. www.ila.info
11. Gamson, Joshua. “The Officer and the Diva” in The Nation, June 28, 1999, p. 21.
12. â€œBird flu God’s wrath: rabbi” in www.news.com, March 21, 2006.
13. El-Ad, Hagai. “Gay Israel: No Pride in Occupation” in TheGully.com, February 21, 2002. www.thegully.com
14. Gamson, op cit., p. 21
15. Ibid.: p. 22.
16. Belkin, Aron and Melissa Levitt. “Homosexuality and the Israeli Defense Forces: did lifting the gay ban undermine military performance?” in Armed Forces and Society, vol. 27, no. 4, Summer 2001: p. 544.
17. Kaplan, Danny and Eylal Ben-Ari. “Brothers and others in arms: managing gay identity in combat units of the Israeli Army” in Journal of contemporary ethnography, vol. 29, no. 4, August 2000: p. 397.
18. Ibid.: p. 406.
19. www.blacklaudry.org/images/englishflyer.jpg
20. El-Ad, op cit., p. 4
21. â€œCourt narrowly upholds ‘family unification ban’” in Ha’aretz, Sunday, May 14, 2006.
22. Stein, Yael. Forbidden families: family unification and child registration in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem: HAKOMED Center for the Defense of the Individual, 2004: p. 17.
23. Ibid.: p. 18.
24. â€œPalestinian gays flee to Israel,” BBC News, October 22, 2003.
25. Peratis, Kathleen. “Only human: for gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is Mecca,” in Forward, February 24, 2006.
26. Dreyfuss, Robert. The Devil’s game: how the United States helped unleash fundamentalist Islam. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005: p. 206.
27. Ibid.: p. 191.
28. Ibid.: p. 197.
29. Horowitz, Craig. “Israel’s Christian soldiers,” in New York magazine, September 29, 2003.
30. Ireland, Doug. “Iran exports anti-gay pogrom to Iraq” in In These Times, May 31, 2006.
31. Dunne, Bruce. “Power and sexuality in the Middle East” in Middle East Report, Spring 1998: p. 8.
32. Abu Khalil, Assad. “Gender boundaries and sexual categories in the Arab world,” in Feminist issues, 1997, vol. 15, no. 1-2.
33. Roscoe, Will and Stephen O. Murray. Introduction in Islamic homosexualities: culture, history, and literature. New York: New York University Press, 1997: p. 4.
34. Roscoe, Will and Stephen O. Murray. Conclusion in Islamic homosexualities: culture, history, and literature. New York: New York University Press, 1997: p. 314.
35. Murray, Stephen O. “The will not to know: Islamic accommodations to male homosexuality” in Islamic homosexualities: culture, history, and literature. New York: New York University Press, 1997: p. 14
36. Mubarak, Dahir. “Is beheading really the punishment for homosexuality in Saudi Arabia?”in Sodomy laws, www.sodomylaws.org/world/saudi_arabia/saudinews19.htm
37. Queers for Palestine. “Boycott World Pride in Jerusalem.” www.quitpalestine.org
38. Coalition to Boycott World Pride Jerusalem 2006. www.boycottworldpride.org
39. Email distributed by ALITT (Associacion lucha por la identidad travesti y transexual) and MULLABI (Grupo de Trabajo por los derechos sexuales en America Latina), March 16, 2006.
40. Podur, Justin. “A multifaceted fraud: reviewing Irshad Manji’s ‘The Trouble With Islam’, Part 1” in ZNet, December 5, 2003: www.zmag.org

A modified version of this paper was presented at “Crossroads2006”, the biennial conference of the Association for Cultural Studies, in Istanbul in July 2006.

Blair Kuntz is the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies Librarian at the University of Toronto Libraries.

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